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Student Speak: Learning Liberal Art needs strong critical thinking

The Times of India logo The Times of India 25-01-2021 Priyanka Srivastava
a group of people sitting at a table © Provided by The Times of India

Growing up in a picturesque hill station called Shillong, in the North-Eastern part of India, Soumyodeep Deb often desired to critically analyse his learning. This brought him to Delhi University where he obtained a Bachelor's degree in History and Master's degree in East Asian Studies from the University of Delhi.

His desire to study Liberal Arts took him to Hong Kong, to pursue his masters in 2019. He opted for Lingnan University, which is famous for being one of the top 10 Liberal Arts universities in Asia. "The dynamic research output was an added advantage," says Soumyadeep. For admission to this university, the student must have strong academic credentials, as the marks are reviewed, following which students face a video interview with the faculty members. "International students with good academic credentials may get a tuition fee waiver," he adds.

Life in Hong Kong

With Hong Kong being the financial capital of the east and English being one of the major spoken languages, students and visitors are better placed here. "I had no problem from the perspective of communication which further enhanced not only my learning experience but also helped me strengthen my abilities and make new friends which was the most memorable part of my university life," adds Soumyadeep. "I had a wonderful living experience as a student as our local Hong Kong friends would take me and the other international students out for cultural exchange trips." To know the city, one must explore it not as a tourist but as a resident and student life is the best time for this expansion.

Outcome-based learning

The striking feature of global education is the focus on research and constant interaction between the faculty which enriches the learning process for the students. "In Lingnan, the education structure was focused on outcome-based learning approach and much more research-oriented compared to my studying experience in India. This approach has helped me acquire a critical approach and analyse things from a unique academic perspective," adds Soumyadeep. Being a rising university, the professors give quality time for optimal research output and guide the students from the very basics.

Learning in tough times

The global health crisis has changed the face of education with most institutes opting for online learning. While most students complain of facing restrictive learning, unlimited interaction opportunity is helping students here. "Our online classes are as interactive as face-to-face classes. Our professors gave us time slot where we have discussions and each student is expected to have their perspective about the subject, which gives a new dimension to learning," says Soumyodeep, who has landed a research assistant job at the university. "My fundamental aim is to pursue my PhD here in Hong Kong or Mainland China for which I am working on my academic research proposal."

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